The world is increasingly inclined toward a data-driven future, and thanks to that, the SaaS (software-as-a-service) model has begun to grow exponentially. Throughout all industries, the SaaS product success rate is increasing. It is revolutionizing the way businesses function. Take cloud computing, for instance. It offers a platform where app users collaborate and manage supply chains remotely.
The overall SaaS product market is predicted to reach $94.4 billion by 2022. So, arguably, SaaS solutions are here to stay.
Not every SaaS product is going to be a huge success. The success of a SaaS product depends on various factors. Before delving into what a SaaS product needs to succeed, let’s look at the prerequisites for developing a SaaS product.
Identifying customer concerns or problems
Before developing a SaaS product, it is integral to identify the concerns and pain points of the customers. A solution is as successful as the problem it solves. Keep in mind that identifying customer problems is not easy and involves thorough research. You need to invest many resources and time in user research and creating persona-based SaaS products that solve specific issues.
After identifying the problems or pain points and segregating the audience according to their personas, you will know that a market will eventually take an interest in your product. Understanding the market or your target audience is the first step to designing a SaaS solution. It allows you to comprehend the needs of your potential customers, and in doing so, you can identify a niche where your product fits perfectly. In addition, by gaining in-depth knowledge of your customers, you can craft better strategies for the success of your product.
The research can be conducted online, but it is recommended to follow it up with a hands-on approach. For example, developing a SaaS product for the transport industry will help you spend quality time working on vehicle dealerships. You’ll gain a competitive edge as you have hands-on knowledge about what your future customers want.
Narrowing down the scope of your product
Do you want to increase the success rate of your SaaS product? Then, lower the scope of your product after you’ve discovered the concerns and needs of your potential customers. For example, narrow down the issue and make it as specific as possible because you cannot solve all the problems simultaneously.
A common issue with many failed SaaS products is that companies attempt to cast an extensive net with stated goals. However, in the end, they fail to focus on each problem and solve them.
So, ensure your SaaS products do not solve too many problems and end up confusing the audience. Instead, develop a product capable of solving one problem, and it is likely to be more successful. To put it simply, start small and gradually increase your operations. It is a way of moving forward after establishing a loyal customer base and a brand name, which guarantees product success on the market.
Again, remember to find a niche of consumers who have a specific issue and seek solutions. SaaS, but any product becomes successful when it has a loyal and strong base of customers. Ultimately, your customers will determine the success of your product, and therefore, you cannot keep them out of the fold.
In simple words, initially, your product must not be too broad to solve every problem. Of course, you can start small, and as you acquire loyal customers, you can add more features. But, initially, your product must be easy-to-use and straightforward.
Putting together a team
After you have figured out your customers’ concerns and narrowed down the scope of your product, the next step is to put together a team of SaaS UI/UX designers, developers, and product success managers.
If you have any experience in the SaaS industry, you already know the importance of product design. But, technique alone cannot create a successful SaaS product. It would help if you also had experienced leaders who would enhance the likelihood of product success.
When bringing together a team for your SaaS product, ensure they understand why you are designing the product and have a wealth of expertise to present it to the users accurately.
Compared to other products, SaaS products are inherently complex, and therefore, the user experience must be your top-notch focus. Even if your product can solve customer problems perfectly, your product will be rejected if the user interface is too complicated or the navigation is too confusing. So, make sure to involve a UI/UX designer throughout the product development process.
After the product has been designed and developed, marketing the product through the correct channels will be the responsibility of the product success managers. They need to build the apt marketing campaigns and choose the right platforms so that your product reaches out to your target audience.
Flexibility and agility throughout the process
The team’s willingness to be agile and flexible throughout product development and launch is essential to the product’s future success. It is vital to know when to change a plan to avoid bottlenecks and adapt so that the product development process can stay on its course. Even if you have everything planned out and every step is data-driven, unexpected things happen, and that might force you to make changes. For instance, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way businesses operated, and now everyone has to adapt and adjust.
Take Slack, for instance. The workplace tool was initially planned to be a communication tool for Glitch. But, during the development process, they realized that Slack itself was a truly unique tool, so they shelved Glitch and released Slack.
That’s why flexibility and agility are the two pillars of a successful SaaS product. Sticking to the plan is great but not always feasible. Your team must be well-equipped and experienced to adapt to changes.
Gaining capital quickly to stay afloat
Profitability is one of the critical reasons for the success of your SaaS product. Therefore, it must be at the core of SaaS product development. But, SaaS products are typically not profitable initially, and it is only when you start to acquire customers that you know what you need to know to improve the product. The more upgrades and features you add, the more your customers understand that you care for them.
Even though SaaS products lose money initially, they make money once accepted and have a loyal customer base. But, for the initial few months, it is vital to ascertain capital avenues to stay afloat. So, make sure you have investors and assets to see you through the initial stage when your product is not bringing in a steady stream of profit and revenue.
Things your SaaS product needs to stand out from the rest
1. An all-in-one interface
The market is flooded with SaaS products, but only a handful of them are successful. Their popularity is based on the SaaS product design, user experience, the problems they solve, and their all-in-one package offering. For example, think of Google. The tech giant began as a search project of Larry Page and revolutionized the Internet search engine. But that was only the start. Today, Google has numerous products, including Gmail, Maps, Google Assistant, Chrome, and so much more.
What’s more, everything is connected. Google allows users to complete their tasks and share them, define organizational workflows, and schedule calls. It is an all-in-one interface, and users don’t need to log out from one platform to utilize the other features.
So, whatever problem you are trying to solve with your SaaS product, ensure it is all in one platform. Then, you can go on adding features to improve your product.
2. Flexible packaging and bundling, along with customization options
Packaging and bundling are other factors contributing to the success of SaaS products. Since hybrid working models and remote working have become a norm, people are constantly looking for collaborative tools to make remote working easier. That’s why SaaS products allowing cross-collaboration between platforms are top-rated. They enable users to remain connected on all the virtual platforms without missing a notification. An excellent example would be HubSpot’s integration with MailChimp, allowing users to easily monitor and track their email campaigns from a single dashboard.
While offering packaging and bundling is essential, it is also crucial to give users a choice. Don’t force integrations on your customers, but let them choose the plugins and extensions they want. Allow them to customize so that your product caters explicitly to their requirements and truly becomes ‘pay as you use.’
3. End-to-end customer support for a great user experience
When using an application, users may get stuck, and when that happens, they should be able to find solutions to move on quickly. Users wouldn’t want to wait for hours before they get assistance. Therefore, ensure that tutorials, guided user flows, and articles are easily accessible where users can find the support and assistance they need when they need it. If users require any technical help, you need a specialized team on standby offering around-the-clock customer service. All successful SaaS products must have an adequate support system in place, which might be in the form of chatbots, live chat, automated email responses, ticketing systems, etc. If you choose one or all of these customer support options, make sure help is available to your customers 24/7.
4. Focusing on templatization
One of the reasons why people will use your SaaS app is to finish tasks quickly and easily. You can help users complete their assignments promptly by leveraging templatization. For instance, you could create a SaaS product that allows users to create templates to standardize data collection and pre-sales research.
5. Smooth and hassle-free onboarding process
Customer onboarding is a substantial part of your business, and it is about comprehending the relationship of clients with your company or industry. It is the beginning of a customer’s journey and allows you to assess the procedures or activities regarding introducing your offerings to your new customers. It is a daunting process, but if you get it right, your customers will be acquainted with your products or services, and you’ll have a loyal customer base. For any SaaS app, the customer onboarding process must be smooth and straightforward, and navigation-friendly. It would help if you did not try to overload your users with a lot of information. Start with the name and email, and work your way up. Also, you can use relevant illustrations and visuals that are focused on products to inspire customers to sign up further.
6. Competitive pricing
If you’ve met all the five elements mentioned above, the final thing to decide is the price of your SaaS product. Unless your SaaS app solves a unique problem that nobody else has solved yet, the cost of your app must be competitive. Since you are competing with other players in the market, it would be wise to maintain a competitive price that compares with your competitors. If the cost of your app is too much, users might abandon your app after the trial period is over.
So, these are a few factors determining the popularity and success of SaaS products. Keep them in mind when designing your SaaS app. Remember to make your company financially sound for the initial stages so that you can live to see a steady stream of profit.